Archbishop Costelloe was the principal celebrant and homilist at the closing Mass of the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia celebrated in St Mary’s Cathedral on Saturday morning.
Citing the words of St John the Baptist, he urged the Members to take to heart that “He – Jesus – must grow greater, and I must grow smaller”.
As Members look towards the “re-enlivening” of the Church, Archbishop Costelloe said they must remember: “There will be no renewal of the Church if we put ourselves above Christ or in some perverse way push him to the margins.”
The experience of the early Church at Pentecost is one that needs to be taken up by the Church each day, he said.
“The enlivening of the infant Church, gathered in prayer in the upper room, was not a ‘once-only’ event. It is the daily reality of the Church and the enduring foundation of the Church’s identity.”
The Plenary Council was a new experience in many ways, Archbishop Costelloe said, lived in a “tentative and incomplete fashion” as they tried to “reimagine the Church in Australia through a missionary lens”.
“We have tried, and at times struggled, and perhaps occasionally failed, to listen carefully to each other,” he said.
“The Lord never promised that discipleship would be without its challenges.”
Nevertheless, “We have made some decisions, opened up some possibilities, and experienced the depth and complexity of some of the challenges we face.”
Much work remains to be done, he said, and the question that must remain with each of the Members as they return home is: What was, and is, the Holy Spirit saying?
Finally, Archbishop Costelloe encouraged Members to believe that what the Archangel Gabriel said to the Blessed Virgin Mary is true for them today: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow.”
During the Mass, Members of the Plenary Council delivered Prayers of the Faithful in many different languages, reflecting the diversity and unity of the Church in Australia that has been so much of a focus in their discernment this week.
Find out more about the Plenary Council at: www.plenarycouncil.catholic.org.au